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We’ll Deliver Abuja Second Runway before President Buhari Leaves – Aviation Minister

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The second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja is expected to be completed before the Buhari administration winds down in the second quarter of 2023.

This is according to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika while conducting members of the National Assembly joint committees on Aviation round projects at the airport.

Briefing the Committee members, led by Senator Abiodun Olujimi and Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, the minister of Aviation said workers have been moblised to the site of the new runway and the project will be completed within six months.

The minister further said the federal government is determined to ensure that all projects in the Aviation road map is completed before the end of this tenure.

According to him, “We are here with two committees of the national assembly, the senate and the house of reps with their chairmen on oversight.

“On this spot is where the much awaited second runway is coming. The contractor has been mobilized to site and work has commenced in earnest and it is our intention to deliver the project as soon as possible, as soon as practicable. Government is committed to this project and funding it.”

The proposed second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja will cost about N72 billion.

Speaking on the project, chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Abiodun Olujimi said the project was long overdue, and decried the situation where the airport had to be shut down to allow maintenance work on
the only runway.

She commended the Minister for taking the initiative to construct the second runway, saying that the nation’s capital cannot afford another airport shut down as was done previously.

Also Speaking at the event, the
chairman House committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji said the cost of the new runway is put at N72 billion and this will involve a lot of logistics.

Hon. Nnaji explained that the cost covers lightening, infrastructure, buildings and the construction of the 4.2 kilometres of runway.

He also said the runway will be the longest in West Africa if completed and commended the minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika for the project.

Nnaji said “We have been expecting this construction to take off because we are aware that we have been funding budget to accommodate for the second runway which is very important to this country. Abuja being the capital of Nigeria with an aggressive infrastructural development and economic activities, we feel that it is important to have another runway. This runway when completed will be the longest runway in west Africa; 4.2 kilometres against the existing runway which is about 3.7 kilometres.
The runway will cost about N72 billion.

“This one is coming with control tower, taxi way and other facilities. At the second hase of this project, we also expect that we will have a terminal building around this place.

“We are happy with this project and we congratulate ourselves for the success. We learnt that the project will be completed in less than 12 months because the minister said with aggressive funding, this project will be commissioned before the end of the tenure.

So we expect that as important as this project, we think in less than six months, this project can be completed and commissioned. We also expect that the project will have a maintenance period of one year.”

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Direct Flights Between Nigeria and Seychelles Soon, as both Countries Sign BASA

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Following the approval of the Federal Executive Council of the Memorandum on signing and ratification of Air Service Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Seychelles, the two countries have formerly ratified the Agreement.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika using the platform of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) event holding in Abuja, led officials of the Ministry to sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement ( BASA) while the Republic of Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, signed on behalf of his country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika signing the BASA with Seychelles

During the ceremony, the two Ministers underscored the importance of the BASA as it will promote air services and connectivity between both countries, enhance business, and promote tourism.

Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques endorsing the BASA with Nigeria

According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, the two Ministers agreed that the signing would further promote the African Union Agenda 2063 and called on citizens of both countries to latch on the opportunities of the BASA for their mutual benefits.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Aviation has either signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and initial Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Senegal, Benin Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, Cameroon, Morocco, Suriname, India, Sudan and Uganda.

The Ministry has also had discussions on how to further implement the open skies Agreement, signed 30 years ago, with the United States of America.

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Buhari Assures International Civil Aviation Organisation Of More Support

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President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has assured the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that Nigeria will continue to offer more support by making significant investments in the provision of aviation infrastructure for a safe, secure, environmentally friendly and sustainable economic development of the international civil aviation sector.

President Buhari made the commitment on Tuesday in Abuja when he received the ICAO President, Salvatore Sciacchitano.

Recalling the long history between Nigeria and ICAO, the President said:

“Nigeria has been a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) since 1962, and has continued to make valuable contributions to the ICAO Council’s work and its activities.

President Buhari with his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, ICAO Council President, Salvatore Siacchitano, Immediate past ICAO President, Bernard Aliu during the visit

“This country has been playing a key role in supporting the implementation of ICAO Policies and Programmes internationally, and particularly in the African region.

“To this end, Nigeria has ratified all international air law instruments like the Montreal Protocol and amendments to some articles of the Chicago Convention,”

He told his guest that Nigeria was championing the cause of Aviation safety, security and facilitation in Africa.

President Buhari said, “I have recently signed into law Civil Aviation Act 2022. This is to reposition the industry to ensure continuous compliance with ICAO standards and to meet the challenges of a dynamic and rapidly growing air transport sector,” while assuring the ICAO President that the “Aviation industry in Nigeria is increasing by leaps and bounds.”

“I have also approved the establishment of Aviation and Aerospace University in Abuja to cater for research and development in the sector as well as the managerial challenges. In this regard, Nigeria has already started receiving the support of ICAO members like Qatar under the No Country Left Behind Initiative,”

The President expressed confidence that the aviation sector in Nigeria would continue to grow, affirming that “the roadmap of the Ministry of Aviation superintendent by Senator Hadi Sirika, is on course and together with other reforms of this administration will be sustained.”

While congratulating Mr. Sciacchitano on his re-election as President of the ICAO Council for the second term, President Buhari also appreciated the support Nigeria had enjoyed under his leadership, which, according to him, culminated in Nigeria’s re-election during the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly.

The Nigerian leader informed the ICAO President that the aviation sector under this administration has more than doubled, noting that “It became the fastest growing of our economy Pre-COVID, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).”

According to him, “Passenger numbers were raised from 8 – 30 million. The five new airport terminals have added 50 million passengers to our capacity. All these within the time we are in government, namely seven and half years.”

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a brief remark, informed the President that the ICAO Air Services Negotiation (ICAN) event being hosted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority “will provide States, either on-site or participating remotely, with a central meeting place to conduct bilateral, regional or plurilateral air services negotiations and consultations, as well as networking opportunities for policymakers, regulators, air operators, service providers and other stakeholders.”

He expressed delight at the post-COVID recovery of the country’s aviation sector, describing it as the second best in the world.

The ICAO President told President Buhari that the meeting offered an opportunity of interaction between the participants from about 160 countries and the Civil Aviation Authorities in the country, adding that more than 4,000 agreements are being signed by way of bilateral agreements.

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International Civil Aviation Day: Nigeria Remains Committed to ICAO’s Ideals – Sirika

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As the global aviation community comes together to celebrate the 2022 International Civil Aviation Day, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has restated the nation’s commitment to the ideals of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

According to Sirika, the theme for International Civil Aviation Day 2022 which is, “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development” aligns with the belief of the Nigerian government that Aviation is a channel to achieving the development of other sectors as it remains the fastest and safest mode of domestic and international movement.
This belief, he says, has informed Government’s commitment to the development of the sector for which it developed a roadmap at the inception of the Buhari administration.

A statement the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs, Dr James Odaudu quotes Sirika as saying that the implementation of the roadmap has led to a number of record-breaking achievements in the nation’s aviation industry which have been variously acknowledged and applauded by ICAO.

“Globally, it is a well known fact that aviation doubles every fifteen years but in the case of Nigeria, it has more than doubled and in another fifteen years, it will quadruple”.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics , aviation became the fastest growing sector of the economy pre-covid and during covid, the third fastest growing sector and after covid, according to Airport Council International, ACI, we are at a 111% of pre-covid numbers. Apart from Colombia, we are the only country on earth that recovered so fast, and we have added even 11% of pre-covid numbers”.

These statistics, according to Senator Sirika, reinforce the continuous commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the International Civil Aviation Organization whose regulations have continued to guide the industry in ensuring the safety records that the country has established.

“The Minister, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government and people of Nigeria, congratulates the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Siacchitano and members of the global aviation community presently in the country for the ICAN22 event on the Day and hopes that Nigeria will continue to have the privilege of hosting more ICAO events in the future” the statement read.

The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.

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